Fed-up farmers in India are painting tiger stripes on their guard dogs to frighten off gangs of monkeys who've been raiding their fields.
Monkeys are smart: they don't mess with tigers. Humans are smarter: they employ tigers to guard their crops against mooching monkeys... except the “tigers” are actually dogs whose stripes are applied with hair dye. The painted panting pretend panthers may not fool you or I but that's OK, they only have to fool the monkeys and that seems to be the case. Checkmate, primates!
There's a method to this apparent madness. Monkeys living in forested areas of southern India's Karnataka state feed mainly on fruit from wild trees. Over-harvesting by humans and an expanding monkey population has compelled the monkeys to raid farms, and the gangs of clever beasts show little fear of the farmers. They do fear tigers, however, and one farmer found a unique way to turn that fear into a potent yet harmless weapon.
Srikanth Gowda oversees a 53-acre plantation in Nallur village, Shivamogga district, Malnad region. According to reporter Nolan Pinto of India Today, Gowda recalled his father telling him that monkeys had an ingrained fear of tigers and took pains to avoid them.
As Gowda did not own a pet tiger, he did the next best thing: he painted tiger stripes on Bulbul, his pet Labrador Retriever, with dark hair dye. Gowda explained that the hair color he used was of the best quality available, and indeed it does appear he's genuinely fond of his pet. No doubt his affection has increased now that Bulbul's dye job is keeping the monkeys from raiding his crops.
Reports of Gowda's success have reached a wider audience thanks to local and lately, international media, though some folks may have issues with the concept of dyeing a pet's fur. Is it toxic for the dog? Will Bulbul's makeup end up attracting lovesick tigers while it repels hungry monkeys? Time will surely tell.
For the moment, however, Bulbul's tiger disguise is working like a charm and the monkeys haven't caught on... yet. “Earlier, monkeys used to destroy all our crops,” stated Gowda's daughter. “It was my father's idea to scare monkeys away. Everyone in our village is replicating his idea.” Seems like a win-win all around though our guess is the biggest winner is the owner of the local hair dye shop. (via Deccan Herald)